When In Rome, and No, I'm Not Going Through Life Sideways


So, on to day two.

After a leisurely breakfast yesterday, I drove down to Santa Monica where I wrote the previous entry while sitting in a very nice chair at the Apple Store with my Dell laptop. I’m kind of surprised that I didn’t get struck down by lightning for such an act of defilement, but maybe my iPod acted like some kind of holy water. Or something.

Bucky and Eldrid, my friends who were kind enough to let me bunk down for a couple of days, live in Topanga, a tiny community buried in the Santa Monica Mountains between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley that is reputed to be populated entirely by ‘hippies’ (to quoth Marli, a native-born Angeleno (shoud it be Angelena for women?) friend and fellow law-school victim). While I don’t know about the hippie aspect of things, I can say that their house is perched by a small stream; last I was there, said stream had been but a narrow twisting trickle of barely moving water. Now, what with the biblical rains that SoCal has suffered of late, it’s grown somewhat and is host to a choir of rather noisy and musical frogs, particularly in the evening, as the frogs wait for their dinner to buzz by (first time I heard the assembled amphibians, I thought that they were birds, they were that vocal). More to the point is the fact that due to said biblical rains, the main road in and out of town is only open a few hours a day, so getting to and from when one is not in the golden hours involves long and tedious journeys through narrow and little-used roads that go up and down and up and down the mountains. Either that or you have to go through the Valley, which is pretty much just as bad.

Having finished blogging and simultaneously IMing with three people at the Apple Store because the battery on my laptop was dying, I wandered down through the Third Street Promenade and thence on to the Santa Monica Pier. On the leisurely stroll back up to my car (it’s a good thing that there are no Hear Music stores in Manhattan ere I’d go broke fast) I stopped at the Apple Store again. Gotta have that email fix.

Once again safely ensconced behind the wheel of my blue Taurus, I did what Angelenos do: drive. Specifically, I drove up Wilshire from Santa Monica to Hollywood, which is a damn long way to go. Once in Hollywood, given no particular inclination to actually get out of the car, I drove around Hollywood boulevard, saw Schwab’s, drove past the Walk of Fame, slowed to an involuntary crawl outside Mann’s Chinese Theater (it seemed there was a premiere that evening), ogled the Capital Records building, and generally acted like a tourist who really didn’t see the need to get out of his car. Incidentally, I think I was stopped behind the red carpet when some of the pictures of some of the stars of the above-mentioned movie were taken, so if you see a blue Taurus in the background of some of those Hollywood red carpet photos… that’s me.

Then, feeling bored, I drove up 101 to the Valley, switched to 405 southbound back into the city because the traffic was so horrific, and, having sufficiently sampled the exotic freeway lifestyle, was on Santa Monica Boulevard headed back to the west side when my cousin Arnold, who recently moved to LA, called. To make a long story short (yeah, get on with it), I ended up driving down to his apartment in Manhattan Beach, parking the car, getting in his car, driving to Koreatown, eating an amazing Korean barbeque meal at a restaurant called Chosun Galbee. Highly recommended. Then we went back to Manhattan Beach where I got in my car and drove all the way back up to Topanga, this time going through the Valley since it was long past the hour that Topanga Canyong Boulevard was closed and I was in no particular condition to venture tiny, narrow, unlit mountain roads in the inky darkess.

The whole driving-half-way-across-town thing was because Arnold knew where the restaurant was and how to get there, but he didn’t know how to get there from where I was, but he knew how to get to where he was from where I was. Does that make sense?

Total driving milage over two days in LA: 196.1 miles.

The next morning after yet another incredibly leisurely breakfast, I bid my fond fairwells to Bucky and Eldrid, the frogs in their stream and their two utterly adorable children and set forth on Highway 1 to Santa Barbara. Blessed with absolutely stunning weather, the drive up the coast was gorgeous. Appropriately enough, the CD player switched two the theme to For A Few Dollars More as I was driving through Point Mugu. Then on through to Oxnard (cheapest gas I’ve seen yet in California), and up to Santa Barbara…

I’m afraid that the rest of the trip will have to wait until later this evening, as the day is advancing and I have to get back on the road. But I have posted some pictures from Santa Barbara over on Flickr. The plan for today (subject to change, of course) is to first hit some wineries in Paso Robles, and then the Hearst Castle, and then up to Monterey…

Oh, and did I mention that I haven’t gotten around to getting a map yet?


Without a map? Showoff. ;)

Seriously, what a great trip so far. Thanks for reporting in....

quick references:
Ladies of The Canyon - Joni Mitchell
Paint My Mailbox Blue - Taj Mahal
Oh, let that hippie love light shine on Topanga!!

And Kalbi-jim is Cho Sum Ni Da!!!

And in So Cal, it's The 101. When you cross into Nor Cal, it's just 101. Navigation by article usage.

Is that the two utterly adorable children of your friends or the two utterly adorable children of the frogs?

Drink a bottle of merlot for me.

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